By Matt Spaulding
The key to any successful PR program is a solid plan. Recently, I’ve had the chance to develop two strategic PR plans for two different organizations. The process for both reminded me how important it is to take a holistic approach to strategic planning. At Spaulding Communications, we do this through a formalized planning process. It’s a collaborative approach that is part art and science and ensures strategies and tactics are aligned to desired results.
Reflecting on the success of these plans, a few things stand out. One is that both clients were dedicated to taking the comprehensive steps required. The other is both clients were committed to two essential planning ingredients: time and input.
Time – Time is the greatest resource. If we use it wisely, we can overcome almost any obstacle or challenge. Conversely, if we compress time and rush, we often make mistakes or overlook important elements. Both clients allowed for plenty of time to go through the required steps, then reflect and adjust along the planning journey.
Input – Gaining input and feedback from multiple sources during the planning process is key. We often begin our planning process by identifying the key audiences we’re trying to reach. These audiences could be customers, employees, potential customers, etc. If you’re not engaging or actively soliciting input from these audiences – and other stakeholders – your plan may not be as inclusive or effective as desired.
We all operate in a fast-paced and frenetic business world, and our desire to get things done quickly often overshadows our need to do things correctly. But when it comes to strategic planning, taking the necessary time is vital. Allowing the appropriate amount of time ensures all steps are taken, challenges are addressed and input is considered or incorporated. When this is done, everyone involved in the planning process will be confident that the plan they’ve designed will be effective and results-driven.
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